Photo by Eskinder Debebe/United Nations photo/Flickr
Mongolia

First team of Native American students reaches Mongolia

Rich Atkinson September 15, 2014

After circling above Chinggis Khaan International Airport for an hour, the plane climbed and flew north. Ashen Schumpelt turned around in her seat to talk to one of the three Native American students with her and said, “Krisha, we are flying to Russia.”

When the plane returned and finally landed after dark, the four women were exhausted and excited. They had been travelling for two days.

But Ashen’s dream of taking Native American students to reach the world came to fruition. Ramona King, Krisha Arthur and Meagan Goolsby joined her on Nations’ first international missions trip to Mongolia. Nations is Cru’s ethnic ministry to Native Americans. The Nations Movement seeks to honor Native American students and faculty by restoring their lives and culture with Jesus Christ.

Ashen serves with Nations on the New Mexico State University Campus in Las Cruces. During their four-week trip, the team split time between the capital and the countryside and partnered with the Mongolian campus ministry.

“Many people (in Mongolia) believe in Shamanism. The people depend on shamans (medicine men) to cure the sick by magic, communicate with the gods, and control events,” says Ashen. “This is very similar to many tribes I work with (and their) traditional views.”

From left to right: Ramona King, Krisha Arthur, Ashen Schumpelt and Meagan Goolsby in a rendition of a nomadic home or ger in Mongolia.

When the group reached a nomadic area in the countryside, they parked their two jeeps and talked with the family who invited them to stay the night.

They exchanged gifts with the Mongolian nomads. Their hosts offered them dried milk and yogurt and the Americans brought gifts of flour, rice, salt, and Navajo tea.

After a dinner of soup with noodles and vegetables and milk tea, the team prepared a showing of the Christian movie, The Climb on a laptop computer inside a ger. While outside, a car battery powered the electricity for the computer.

Nearby nomadic families stayed for games, ate with them and watched the movie until it poured and they left to care for their herds.

The next morning after breakfast the American team watched as the Mongolian staff and students talked to the host family about Jesus as the milk tea boiled on the stove and the warm east sun peaked through the open door of the ger. They explained about Jesus using the Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws? gospel booklet in Mongolian. A Mongolian grandmother and mother placed their faith in Christ that morning.

One of the things that grew Ashen’s faith was seeing her dream realized. She saw God give her desires and dreams and made them happen of sending Native American students to the world and seeing them get a heart to continue it.

Ramona gained a new understanding about evangelism. “I’m an introvert that’s becoming more of an extrovert,” says Ramona, a student-leader with Nations at Montana State University in Bozeman. “The trip helped me a lot because before I would be too scared to open up and talk to people about the Lord. It actually opened my eyes to I can actually do this also.”

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